May 10, 2016

Contact: Jay Thompson

Cal Poly Honors Santa Clarita Student As University’s Outstanding Student Employee

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A Santa Clarita student studying mechanical engineering at Cal Poly was recently named the university’s 2015-16 Outstanding Student Employee of the Year.

Andrew Furmidge, a third-year mechanical engineering major, was honored by Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong on Thursday, April 21 at the campus’ Albert B. Smith Alumni and Conference Center.

“The purpose of this was to recognize Cal Poly’s outstanding student employees,” said Barbara Rollins, a senior lead financial aid counselor, who helped organize the 22nd annual event. “Much of the work of the university wouldn’t get done without the help of student employees.”

Furmidge, a 2013 graduate of West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, was unanimously selected from 51 student nominees, who work throughout the campus for the university, Associated Students Inc. and Cal Poly Corp., as well as Federal Work-Study participants. Academically, Furmidge has made the Dean’s List in almost every quarter at Cal Poly. He has worked in Aerospace Engineering Department’s wind tunnel since January 2015.

His nomination rose to the top because he was described as being supremely competent with a strong work ethic.

“Without Andrew, my wind tunnel lab wouldn’t function,” said Graham Doig, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering. “After just a few months, I realized I was able to trust him with almost everything.”

Cal Poly’s Low-Speed Wind Tunnel lab has been a workhorse for the department for decades, serving hundreds of students coming through the aeronautical program. Many have gone on to aerodynamic careers with NASA, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and many others. The facility is undergoing a major upgrade expected to be finished this year.

“I was very excited that my hard work was starting to gain recognition,” Furmidge said. “I was surprised that I was chosen, because there were 50 other nominees who had all done outstanding work too. I was not expecting an award from the work that I do, because the main reasons I developed the wind tunnel are to improve the engineering department and to help train better engineers.”

He plans to work in the automotive, manufacturing, or aerospace industry after he graduates in 2017.

Furmidge was a nominee for a statewide competition that serves as a qualifier for a national contest. Each year colleges and universities across the nation recognize the importance of the student work experience during National Student Employment Week.

Also singled out at the April 21 reception, were first runner-up Brook Matson, who works for the University Honors program, and second runner-up Thomas McNutt, who is employed by the University Police Department.

“Cal Poly has amazing student employees,” Rollins added. “When you read Andrew’s write-up, it’s pretty outstanding the level of work that he’s doing as a student.”

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